Skip to comments.Are Catholics “Born Again?”
Posted on 03/13/2010 1:24:38 PM PST by NYer
Our parish has a Q&A feature in which staff members tackle the queries left in a comment box or e-mailed to the parish. I volunteered to reply to the question titled above:
The root of this principle is in John 3:3-5, and it reads:
Jesus said to (Nicodemus), “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”
Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
Scripture scholars note that the Greek word ἄνωθεν (anothen) means both “from above” and “again.” Jesus seems to be referring to the first meaning, and Nicodemus seems to misinterpret the Lord, taking the second meaning.
Misunderstandings aside, the notion of being reborn in baptism, in water and Spirit, tells of the great significance of the sacrament, and of the commitment to the Christian life it implies. Jesus certainly preaches that those who wish to see and participate in the kingdom of God will experience such a momentous change in their lives, that the notion of a second birth is not an exaggeration.
Many Christians speak of being born again, as a graced event in which people, usually adults, experience the Lord in such a significant way that its like a whole new life for them. And ideally, this is what all Christians should experience when they commit themselves to Jesus Christ. The question might be raised: does it happen only once? Or is it possible, through a continuing conversion, to go progressively deeper into a Christian commitment to God? The witness of the saints might suggest that this continuing experience is the mark of a godly life.
In baptism, and even as infants, Catholics are born again, in the sense Jesus means: being born of water and Spirit. Its no accident that the baptismal font at our parish was designed to suggest a tomb, and that in baptism we participate in death and rebirth, as Saint Paul describes, We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
As a child grows, an openness to Gods grace is necessary. The same is true for adults. Baptism is not a magical event, and neither is the evangelical or charismatic experience of being born again. Each of these experiences is an opportunity for Gods grace to work in us. But we always have the freedom to choose: we can close ourselves off from divine grace, or we can cooperate with Gods will and live out a Christian life after being born from above.
Image Credit: painter Edward Tanner (1899), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
Great topic! My grandmother (Catholic) and I (Baptist) were just talking about this today.
We agreed that it’s not religion that gets you to heaven, it’s your faith.
The first “saved” person was a thief who never attended church.
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Shouldn’t the question be, “Are non-Catholics born again?”
As a Catholic I recognize that my parents brought me to be "born" into Christ the day I was baptized - I don't need to do it "again".
I may be incorrect but the "born again" Christians that I know tend to think they've transcended their previous beliefs and go on to feel (and act) a bit superior to the rest of the Christian world. It's as though they have, by being "born again", received some special blessing.
Absolutely right! He could not be baptized since he was also hanging from a cross. We call that Baptism of Desire.
I agree with you completely!!!!!!!!!!
Absolutely right! Unfortunately, many Catholics neglect their faith and leave the Church. These are the premiere victims of those non-Catholic ministers who tell them they are not christians until they are "born again".
Life can be a long faith journey. For some of us, we become distracted and turn our attention to other faiths under this false notion. Essentially, we are "born again" through the Sacrament of Baptism and with God's graces, we will continue along the rocky path that leads to eternal happiness with our Lord.
Not only did the thief never attend church, he never had communion, got baptized, or said one hail Mary. The ONLY thing that saved him was his belief in that Man on the cross next to him.
You are so right in that question!
More than once, I have been asked by well-meaning Baptists or Evangelicals if, even though a Catholic, I had been born again or had considered becoming a Christian. On such occasions I must usually pause as I choke down a laugh and contrive a polite reply.
Many would state that they are “born again” every morning when they turn to God in prayer and repentance, or every time they receive the Eucharist, or every time they go to confession. In this sense being “born again” is not just a one-time deal. Conversion is just the first baby step, not the end-state. We must each day be born again, and converted through the renewal of our minds and spirit by drawing closer to Christ anew each time. Such is the need our fallen nature requires.
Celebrate Your Birthday in the Church
Baptismal Complexes- The Sacrament of Baptism, Part 2
The Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas BAPTISM
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Baptism: Gateway to New Life [Ecumenical]
Converted Muslim Tells Story Behind Papal Baptism
What You [Catholics] Need to Know: Baptism [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 20: The Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism and the Usus Antiquior (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Justified by Baptism (fallout from the Beckwith conversion grows)
The Million-Dollar Infant Baptism
Mystical Baptism and Limbo
The Early Church Fathers on Baptism - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
A Critique of a Critique (On Baptism by Immersion)
Catholics, Reformed Christian Churches sign document recognizing common baptism
Yes, and yes!!! This has been my walk with Christ. Although the initial experience was distinct, I was born again at that moment of asking Jesus into my life. My walk with Christ has been much like my physical growth. I went through baby, to toddler stage, adolescent stage, the teen stage and ended up being stuck there for awhile. You know how teens are? They think they know everything. Until about 8 years ago, I experienced a physical healing from liver cancer, which lead to a rapid spiritual maturity over a period of 5 or so months. It was more profound then my physical healing was. I understand something that's so simple, yet took me over 25 years to finally get. God is good ALL the time!!! He loves us more than we can ever comprehend.
I agree. My wife and I happend to go to a chicken barbeque being held at a local "Tabernacle Church", these are the "born again" types, and all we wanted was to get our chicken, eat it and leave. Well, that was not going to happen as I found out once we sat down. We were bombarded with questions, "are you folks members?" No. "Have you thought of joining us?" Not really. "Have you been born again?" etc etc etc. We could not get out of there fast enough.
Your reply has drawn a stark silence here from among the RC crowd. It just doesn’t fit their paradigm of the RCC being the center of the universe...nearly their god.
But, my FRiend, you are absolutely correct. He was rescued by the Rescuer, alone. And according to the Scriptures, this rescue was determined before the foundation of the earth.
That doesn’t allow the whole “we’ve got the keys” crowd to make the decisions about who gets in very happy. Just watch.
You got to me kidding me. You want me to read all that Catholic “stuff”. (I’ve cleaned that up for you). What you sent me is part of the Catholic problem. Just answer me this very one thing. Do you believe that you can’t go to heaven if you have not been baptized. Here is a hint: the thief on the cross was not baptized, did Jesus lie when he told him , Today you will be with me in Paradise.
It is certainly possible, but all the Catholics I know have not been born again, with the exception of one. She is where I was ten years ago, trying to fit her life-changing experience into a Catholic straitjacket. She has yet to find a milieu that will support and nourish her conversion. I have brought her to my church, but even the powerful rush of the spirit in that place could not persuade her to open her eyes the rest of the way and provide her with a home with her fellow saved. We can’t do it. God alone can do it. In his good time He will, I pray.
Wow, so much bigotry, ignorance, and hatred of Christ in all one post.
You win the Jack Chick award!
The silence was one of courtesy. This reply to you was because of your rudeness.
Isn’t the Sacrement of Confession the opportunity to be “born again” through the forgiveness of our sins?
You win the Jack Chick award!
The silence was one of courtesy. This reply to you was because of your rudeness."
This is what I was talking about.
The focus is on protecting the Mother Ship. Not Christ, but the Organization. I revere Christ, alone, but they will attack anyone disparaging that Cult of Rome. The superstition, the self-made religion is to be protected at all costs. Stay tuned.
The answer is all who repent of ther sins, believe Jesus died on the cross for their sins, and ask Jesus to be their Savior are born again!!! Easy, and it doesn’t matter if you are Catholic or not.
I see that the three of you could not WAIT to get on this thread and answer the question for us.
Wonderful that you know the state of our souls, without even reading anything we have to say about it. Amazing that you have such spiritual insight! /extreme sarcasm
Why don’t you worry about your OWN souls, and leave Catholics alone? Don’t tell me we are your “calling.” Christ would tell you to mind your own business, and grant us the same courtesy you would like in return.
Do you believe in Baptism of Blood?
Do you believe in Baptism of Desire?
Ans I am serious about you reading the truth.
“Unless a man is born again of water AND the spirit, he shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The spirit that Protestants claim in being born again is not sufficient.
The Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick are “healing” Sacraments.
Well, I don't recall answering the question for you. But, I am aware that the language used by those who espouse the RCC party line is not clearly identifying the way Jesus used the term, "Born again."
And, just the way you had no say in the process of being born the first time, you have no say in the process of being born again. Isn't it interesting that Christ used this picture to represent the process of salvation? Why not say, "You must join the Catholic Church and follow the rest of the seven sacraments or you won't go to heaven." That is what we hear from the Catholic Church today. If not, please, Judith Anne, tell us how the Catholic Church teaches a person gets saved.
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Your reply has drawn a stark silence here from among the RC crowd. It just doesnt fit their paradigm of the RCC being the center of the universe...nearly their god.
Jesus Christ is the Truth and Full of Love for us.
Don’t you want to know more and follow His teachings through the Universal Catholic Church that He established for us?
Wouldn’t you want to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus through the Sacrament of the Eucharist and Honor God in His House each Sunday?
If you loved God as much as he loved you wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to show your love?
I hope that you see the Catholic Church as the pathway to God. Perhaps, there are others, but this is the one that Jesus established for us.
It seems to happen when one is laid low by life events, suffering the effects of a sinful life, and reaching out desperately. When there is no human recourse, the lost soul may call on the Lord, perhaps read the Gospel with new understanding, and surrender to Him. I’m sure it happens in other ways too. But usually one is seeking and not finding, until the clouds somehow part. It is mysterious on the face of it. No one knows exactly how it happens that someone answers to the presence who has always been there.
Yeah, he really took the easy way out, all he had to do was be crucified for his crimes, just like my Savior, who died precisely to spare us the wages of our sins. Personally, I'd rather do the faithful worship route. Will I and my faith be tested along the way? Certainly. Would I be willing to hang on a cross for my beliefs? Easy to say "yes" from behind a keyboard, but I suspect nobody could ever know for sure unless they were faced with that very test.
Well, thanks for reinforcing the bigotry, ignorance, and hatred of Christ all in one post.
Satan? Is that you? You type like him.
Hi, Judith Anne. It was a Catholic who posted the thread. I made no assumptions about the Catholics on FR. I told about my many Catholic friends and relatives. But from the tenor of your post I think I do know a bit about you. I wish you well.
Peter was ‘born again’, with or without being the ‘first pope’ - and btw, the rock on which the church is built is Jesus Christ Himself.
‘Born again’ simply means having personally accepted the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross, His death and ressurection. That is what ‘believeth in Him’ means in John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.”
Well said. That 'crowd' has no idea how deterrent they are.
And ALL of those would be proper responses.
I didn’t see a for Catholics only sign on the thread. Then, I didn’t say anything about your soul. Where did that come from? And last, I am a born again Christian with absolutely NO doubt as to where my eternal soul will reside. It’s you that better look to your inner self and confront your anger. I have nothing against Catholics I’m just glad I don’t have to abide by all their man made crap additions to the Bible.
It has always seemed to me that the rock meant Peter, although I have seen contradicting opinions here. But what does it mean to build the church on Peter? The Peter of the Gospel is an imperfect man, but it is his reactions to his own failings, once he realizes them, that make him a holy man. Could be that part of the message here is that the rock that we always have is the ready forgiveness when we fail, along with the more superficial message that the church will always be built on imperfect men.
The only problem with Christianity is sects/churches/cults. Why should any non-Christian consider converting to Christianity when Christians can’t agree on much? Why do we need Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, Methodists, and on and on? There should only be one Christian entity.
What percentage of Christian churches are fronts for moneygrubbing frauds? How does one tell the real from the frauds?
I’ve been born again. I don’t need a church to control my life, which seems to be the main goal as opposed to “saving” me. Christ lives in me every day, I don’t need a church to tell me how to live.
Thank you for the personal post and ping! Life is a journey during which we come to that realization. Our Lord told us to enter through the narrow gate. It is stories such as yours that remind me of what St. Faustina experienced:
One day, I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realising it. And at the end of the roads there was a horrible precipice; that is the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings. (153)
Ahh Jeeze, This sh*t again?
My position exactly: Been There, Done That!
Oh yes? And who made you the judge? Just wondering because I was under the assumption that God was the judge of the state of someone’s soul. I guess I haven’t been hanging around with the right kind of people.
What. Where in the world did we say NOT to do these things. I just made the point that not doing them has nothing to do with eternal life. Maybe less jewels in your crown but nothing to do with being saved. I’m beginning to believe that a good Bible study is actually better than most church sermons. Bible doctrine in the soul is a must for true Christians. If you study the Bible for yourself the Holy Spirit will open the meanings up to you. Standing up and kneeling down several times and saying hail Marys and thumbing a rosary if just meaningless ritual.
“...but all the Catholics I know have not been born again...”
We aren’t reborn through reconciliation but we become closer to Christ by choosing to no longer separate ourselves from Him with our sin and our guilt. Every time we go to confession we are making a firm amendment to follow Christ wholeheartedly.
All the sacraments are REAL encounters with Christ.
LOL you guys are so funny. Did I or anyone else hint that the thief on the cross took the easy way out. If you want to get into this discussion with any depth, try stating something doctrinal or where anyone is wrong by showing a scripture to back it up. Stay away from the lightweight dribble.